It may come as no surprise to anyone in the poultry sector that necrotic enteritis (NE) is a costly disease. That said, chances are that it is still underestimated.
For the last 15 years, the figure used to sum up the damage of sub-clinical necrotic enteritis was as much as US$0.05 per bird, with total global loss reaching almost US$2 billion. That is not good news, but it gets worse. The poultry industry has changed over the years. The global poultry industry has more than doubled over 15 years and, because antibiotic growth promotors were phased out, the incidence of NE has steadily increased. In World Poultry issue 31.7, authors Ben Wade and Anthony Keyburn come to the conclusion that the real cost of NE is close to triple what everyone thinks. NE is eating our profits away to the tune of about 6 billion a year. And that statement is on the safe side.
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The ins and outs of necrotic enteritis
The costly intestinal disease, necrotic enteritis (NE), has severe consequences for gut health. Recently, NE has re-emerged as one of the most serious diseases of commercial poultry, prompting producers to consider whether there is more they could be doing to maximise their flock’s productivity.
Keeping NE at bay has to involve everyone, from farm, feed manufacturer to university. Necrotic enteritis can be controlled with competitive exclusion products, probiotics, prebiotics, organic acids, enzymes, plant extracts, hen egg antibodies, bacteriophages and vaccination, combined with good hygiene management and smart diet composition. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this multifactorial disease. As stated above, the problem is worth investing time, money and research in, even more than has been done up to now. There are at least 6 billion reasons to do so.